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Should We Increase Our Protein Intake After Age 65?

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A examine that purported to indicate that diets excessive in meat, eggs, and dairy could possibly be as dangerous to health as smoking supposedly recommended that “[p]eople under 65 who eat a lot of meat, eggs, and dairy are four times as likely to die from cancer or diabetes.” But should you take a look at the precise examine, you’ll see that’s merely not true: Those eating plenty of animal protein didn’t have 4 occasions extra danger of dying from diabetes—they’d 73 occasions the chance. Even these within the average protein group, who bought 10 to 19 % of energy from protein, had about 23 occasions the chance of dying of diabetes in comparison with these consuming the really useful quantity of protein, which comes out to be about 6 to 10 % of energy from protein, round 50 grams a day.

So, the so-called low protein consumption is definitely the really useful protein consumption, related to a significant discount in most cancers and total mortality in center age, underneath age 65, however not essentially in older populations. When it involves diabetes deaths, decrease total protein consumption is related to an extended life in any respect ages. However, for most cancers, it appears to flip round age 65. I focus on this in my video Increasing Protein Intake After Age 65.

“These results suggest that low protein intake during middle age followed by moderate to high protein consumption in old adults may optimize healthspan and longevity.” Some have recommended that the usual each day allowance for protein, which is 0.8 grams of each day protein for each healthy kilogram of physique weight, could also be nice for many, however maybe older individuals require extra. The examine upon which the really useful each day allowance (RDA) was primarily based indicated that, although there was a suggestion that the “elderly may have a somewhat higher requirement, there is not enough evidence to make different recommendations.” The definitive examine was revealed in 2008 and located no distinction in protein necessities between younger and previous. The identical RDA ought to be satisfactory for the aged. However, satisfactory consumption is just not essentially optimum consumption. The protein requirement “studies have not addressed the possibility that protein intake well above the RDA could prove beneficial,” or so suggests a member of the Whey Protein Advisory Panel for the National Dairy Council and a marketing consultant for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

A examine adopted sedentary people over the age of 65 for 12 years and located they lose about one % of their muscle mass yearly. If you drive individuals to lie in mattress for days at a time, anybody would lose muscle mass, however older adults on bedrest might lose muscle mass six occasions sooner than younger individuals additionally on bedrest. So, it’s use it or lose it for everybody, however the aged seem to lose muscle mass sooner, so that they higher use it. The excellent news is that in distinction to the 12-year U.S. examine, an analogous examine in Japan discovered that the “[a]ge-related decreases in muscle mass were trivial.” Why the distinction? It seems that within the Japanese examine, “the participants were informed about the results of their muscle strength, [so] they often tried to improve it by training before the next examination.” This was very true among the many males , who bought so competitive their muscle mass elevated with age, which exhibits that the loss of muscle mass with age is just not inevitable—you simply should put in some effort. And, analysis reveals that including protein doesn’t appear to assist. Indeed, including extra egg whites to the food regimen didn’t affect the muscle responses to resistance training, and that was primarily based on research funded by the American Egg Board itself. Even the National Dairy Council couldn’t spin it: Evidently, strength “training-induced improvements in body composition, muscle strength and size, and physical functioning are not enhanced when older people…increase their protein intake by either increasing the ingestion of higher-protein foods or consuming protein-enriched nutritional supplements.”

Is there something we will do diet-wise to guard our getting older muscle tissues? Eat greens. Consuming really useful ranges of greens was related to mainly reducing in half the percentages of low muscle mass. Why? “[T]he alkalizing effects of vegetables may neutralize the mild metabolic acidosis” that happens with age, when that little further acid in our physique facilitates the breakdown of muscle. I’ve mentioned earlier than how “[m]uscle wasting appears to be an adaptive response to acidosis.” (See my video Testing Your Diet with Pee and Purple Cabbage for extra on this.) We seem to get a persistent low-grade acidosis with advancing age as a result of our kidney perform begins to say no and since we could also be eating an acid-promoting food regimen, which implies a food regimen excessive in fish, pork, rooster, and cheese, and low in vegetables and fruit. Beans and different legumes are the one main sources of protein which can be alkaline as an alternative of acid-forming. And certainly, a extra plant-based food regimen—that’s, a extra alkaline food regimen—was discovered to be positively related to muscle mass in girls aged 18 to 79.

So, if we’re going to enhance our protein consumption after age 65, it will ideally be plant-based proteins to guard us from frailty. No matter how previous we’re, a food regimen that emphasizes plant-based nutrition “is likely to maximize health benefits in all age groups.”


What was that a few examine that purported to indicate that diets excessive in meat, eggs, and dairy could possibly be as dangerous to health as smoking? See my video Animal Protein Compared to Cigarette Smoking.

Protein is so misunderstood. For extra on the optimum quantity of protein, see Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein? and The Great Protein Fiasco.

Interested in studying extra concerning the optimum supply of protein? See:

What concerning the rumors that plant protein is incomplete? See The Protein Combining Myth.

For info on buffering the acid in our blood, see Testing Your Diet with Pee and Purple Cabbage.

And, for extra on acid/base stability, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t but, you may subscribe to my free movies right here and watch my reside, year-in-review shows:

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